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What Are the Best Types of Braces for Kids?

There are several great options to consider as you look into braces for kids. Our team at Bowman DMD in Niceville and Fort Walton Beach, FL, offers a range of braces for a range of ages. Finding the right fit will partly depend on your child’s needs, your budget, and how comfortable they are with the idea of braces. In general, systems that are durable, fast, and cost-effective are a good option for kids.

What Are the Best Types of Braces for Kids?

Mini-Diamond Braces

Braces for kids should be as comfortable as possible. With that in mind, if you want less bulk but the same corrective power as traditional braces, mini-diamond braces are worthwhile to consider. They’re great for kids and even a popular option for adults.

As the name implies, mini-diamonds have smaller brackets than traditional braces, which helps improve comfort. If your kid has a sensitive mouth, these braces might be easier for them to adapt to.

Self-Ligating Braces

Self-ligating brackets allow the wire of your kid’s braces to move within its bracket. This is another option we offer to improve comfort levels by decreasing friction. If your kid is dreading extra dental appointments, these braces require less adjustment than traditional braces do. When they do have to come in for adjustments, the time they’ll have to spend in our office will be reduced, as the adjustment process is simpler.

Keeping teeth clean with braces is very important, but it can be a difficult, time-consuming task for kids. Since self-ligating braces don’t require elastics, it will be easier for your kid to keep their teeth and gums clean and healthy throughout the treatment process.

Traditional Braces

Traditional braces are classic for a reason; they work well and they’re cost-effective. They also tend to be quite durable. While wearing mouth protection is a good idea to protect their braces during sports, traditional braces are designed to handle life. That’s pretty important when it comes to braces for kids! Traditional braces can correct a very wide range of dental issues.

Braces for Teens

Teens tend to care a bit more about braces than younger kids do. Younger kids might see their classmates with braces, which could help them see braces as almost a rite of passage. Some kids really enjoy customizing their braces with various colorful elastics, or getting rewarded after a dental visit.

Teens start to enter into a different stage of life. The idea of braces might make a teen feel self-conscious. They might worry about braces affecting their confidence, or they just might not like the look of braces. We offer some different options that might be a good fit for teens who don’t want their braces to be obvious.

Ceramic Braces

Older kids who know to be a bit more careful with their ceramic braces may find them to be a good treatment option. These braces look very modern, sleek, and discreet. The clear brackets can blend right into their smile, helping them feel more confident. This is also a very popular option for adults who don’t want their braces to be a distraction in a professional setting.


If your teen wants to avoid braces altogether but still needs corrections, Invisalign can be the best of both worlds. This treatment involves a series of clear aligners that fit right over the teeth like an invisible glove. Each series gently pulls the teeth into a more correct position. Invisalign tends to be very convenient and offers a range of benefits for patients who qualify for it.

No Dietary Disruptions

When it comes to getting braces, there are certain foods that a patient will have to avoid. If your teen enjoys snacks that aren’t compatible with braces, they won’t have to worry about giving up these foods with Invisalign. This is a huge bonus for everyone, but especially teens with allergies who don’t want to remove even more food options from the menu.

To eat, all they have to do is take the aligners out, eat whatever they want, clean their teeth and pop the aligners back in. They could remove their aligners before going to the movies so they can enjoy their favorite popcorn, and will still be able to enjoy healthy snacks like whole apples at home.

Easier Cleaning

Invisalign will allow your teen to brush and floss the way they always have. They won’t have to worry about working around brackets and wires. This can lead to a more thorough clean with less effort put into it.

Enjoy Hobbies

If your teen enjoys active hobbies like sports, or plays an instrument, Invisalign can be less disruptive to these hobbies.

FAQ About Braces for Kids

1. When Should I Start My Kid’s Treatment?

It’s never too late to get your smile corrected, but getting treated earlier tends to make the process quicker and easier. In general, if your child is showing signs of orthodontic issues, it’s probably time for an orthodontic evaluation.

It’s recommended that this evaluation is done at or before the age of seven. That will allow us to judge whether your child requires treatment right away, or if there’s anything we should just keep track of for now. Stepping in early like this will help us provide the right treatment at the ideal time, which should make the treatment process as seamless as possible.

2. Are There Other Benefits to Treatment, Besides Cosmetic Benefits?

Improved Oral Health

While seeking out braces for cosmetic reasons is common, correcting misaligned teeth is associated with some significant health benefits. For one thing, misaligned teeth are usually harder to clean and care for. Overlapping teeth create spaces that are difficult to brush and floss, even with professional tools. They also make it harder to properly place crowns and fillings. This can put the patient at an ever-increasing risk of gum and tooth disease.

On the other hand, teeth that are aligned properly are easier to maintain in almost every way, which can help the patient keep their smile healthy throughout their lifetime. Since teeth with good alignment usually have less friction with each other, it can even help protect the patient’s tooth enamel.

Future Comfort Levels

Treating an issue early on tends to make the treatment process easier on the patient. Untreated issues like protruding teeth could also put the patient at an increased risk of mouth injury, especially if they play sports.

Misaligned teeth can lead to jaw strain. Eventually, this can cause issues with chronically sore jaws, or even trouble sleeping. Patients with correct tooth alignment have less risk of dealing with these issues.

3. Why Is Seven a Good Age for an Orthodontic Evaluation?

The first adult molars come at around seven years of age. Once these molars arrive, the child’s back bite will be established. This will allow us to evaluable the relationship between the side-to-side teeth and the front-to-back teeth.

It’s at this point that we are better able to tell whether something like overcrowding, open bites, overbites, or gummy smiles might develop. The sooner we get that information, the sooner we can help you decide when to seek out treatment.

4. Why Seek Out Interceptive Treatment?

Interceptive treatment can help make extra room for erupting teeth, if it looks like the erupting teeth are going to cause crowding. By influencing early jaw growth, it can help establish facial symmetry and thus improve jaw functionality for the long term. We can help reduce the risk of trauma if front teeth are protruding, and make sure enough room is “saved” for teeth that haven’t arrived yet.

All of these steps can help reduce a need for future tooth removals, and can help reduce treatment time if braces are needed later on.

5. How Do I Tell if My Kid Needs an Orthodontic Evaluation?

Orthodontics isn’t just about smile aesthetics, it’s also about preventing and treating malocclusions, or “bad bites.” Tooth or jaw misalignment can contribute to tooth issues, as well as issues with dental hygiene and chewing. The best way to tell if your child needs an assessment is to reach out for a consultation. We’ll be able to answer your questions and look into the right course of action.

We’re Happy To Answer More Questions

Our experienced team is passionate about helping you find the right solutions for you or your child’s dental needs. We want all of our patients to walk out of our doors with a glowing smile on their face. If you have any questions, please reach out to us at Bowman DMD in Niceville and Fort Walton Beach, FL, today to set up your consultation.